India Committed to Phase-out Ozone Depleting Substances

Minister of Environment & Forests Shri T.R. Baalu has reaffirmed India’s commitment to phase out the use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in order to meet its obligations under the Montreal Protocol. Speaking at the 11th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol at Beijing on December 02, 1999, Shri Baalu said that India has already taken a number of policy measures to encourage early adoption of non-ODS technologies and is encouraging enterprises to come forward with phase-out projects and adopt Ozone friendly technologies at the earliest.

Stating that India needs adequate and early funding from the Multilateral Fund to encourage early adoption of non-ODS technologies, Shri Baalu emphasised the need for replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the benefit of Articles-5 countries (mostly developing countries) which consume ODS less than 0.3 kg per capita in a year. Recalling that the efforts of the Article-5 countries are all geared towards containment and rectification of a damage which has largely been caused by the developed countries, he urged Article-2 countries (mostly developed countries) which consume ODS more than 0.3 kg per capita in a year to "view the need for the replenishment of the Fund with the greatest amount of concern and commitment, keeping in view the fast approaching schedules of the Protocol."

Pointing out that India has been trying to create awareness on the issues and problems of developing countries regarding the Montreal Protocol, Shri Baalu said that a major challenge now confronting the global community is to harmonize the policies of phase-out under the Montreal Protocol and controlling emissions of the greenhouse gases used as substitute to ODS under the Kyoto Protocol. "Developing countries are most concerned about this matter and need immediate and good answers to this problem so that the momentum of phase-out does not receive any set-back. Since a number of international agreements are now being pursued and implemented to tackle the problems of global environment, perhaps there is a need to adopt solutions which establish greater harmony with nature and are not so much driven by technology alone", the Minister added.

Outlining the measures taken by India to demonstrate its commitment to the protocol, Shri Baalu said that implementation of licensing system for export and import of ODS in India and the system of granting duty exemptions for equipment needed for non-ODS projects show our commitment to the Montreal Protocol. Financial institutions have stopped funding any new investment in the country for ODS technologies from as early as 1995. India has recently formulated very detailed draft rules to regulate ODS phase-out under the Environment Protection Act 1986 which are expected to be notified in the near future. India has complied with the first freeze commitment of July 1, 1999 and will continue with its endeavour to adhere to the provisions of the Protocol.

Earlier, Shri Baalu met his Chinese counterpart Mr. Xiang Hua, Minister of Environment of Peoples Republic of China. Both leaders held discussions about the need for early grant from the Multilateral Fund to meet their targets under the Montreal Protocol and hoped that the funds provided to the Article-5 countries as compensation would be delivered as per the schedule outlined in the draft agreement.